Gemma Dryburgh helps Europe retain Solheim Cup as Carlota Ciganda stars in dramatic draw with US

Madelene Sagstrom, captain Suzann Pettersen and Maja Stark of Team Europe celebrate their win against Team USA.Madelene Sagstrom, captain Suzann Pettersen and Maja Stark of Team Europe celebrate their win against Team USA.
Madelene Sagstrom, captain Suzann Pettersen and Maja Stark of Team Europe celebrate their win against Team USA.
Home favourite Carlota Ciganda played a starring role as Europe retained the Solheim Cup after a thrilling 14-14 draw with the United States, the first in the biennial contest’s history.

Trailing 4-0 after the opening foursomes, Suzann Pettersen’s side rallied magnificently at Finca Cortesin and it fittingly fell to Spanish star Ciganda to ensure the trophy would remain in Europe with her fourth win from four matches.

With Ciganda pegged back to all square on the 15th in the penultimate singles against Nelly Korda, the United States were briefly on course for an outright win due to the status of the remaining matches.

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However, Ciganda then hit a stunning approach to the 16th to set up a winning birdie and, after Maja Stark had beaten US Open champion Allisen Corpuz to make it 13-13, repeated the feat on the 17th to ensure Europe would at least retain the trophy.

Emily Pedersen still had an outside chance to halve her match with Lexi Thompson and secure outright victory, but Thompson calmly holed from 10 feet for par on the 17th to close out a 2&1 win. “I’m so happy just to do this for Suzann, for Spain, I’m just so proud,” Ciganda told Sky Sports. “When I saw Suzann on 16 she told me a couple of things and I was like, ‘I’m just going to do this for her’, because I love her and she deserves this. I love my team, I love Europe, I love Spain, I love Solheim Cups. It’s been a great week and I’m just so happy to be here right now.”

Europe captain Suzann Pettersen told Sky Sports: “I think it’s meant to be – it came down to Carlota in Spain, in her own hands. “I walked with her down 16 and said ‘Is this how you wanted it because it’s all in your hands now?’ and she’s like ‘I’m up for it’. We have the best team. I’m so proud of them, they play with their heart, there’s no such thing as giving up no matter what the challenge is. We got off to a rough start but we don’t look back, the sky’s the limit.”

Asked how the experience compared to holing the winning putt at Gleneagles in 2019, Pettersen said: “I don’t know. This is all Carlota. Let her have it. This is one of the best things I’ve been a part of and this is what makes Solheim Cups so special. It’s going to be one pretty good party tonight.”

United States captain Stacy Lewis was gracious in defeat, saying: “What a moment for Carlota and women’s golf. I mean, such a cool finish there. My team played their hearts out. Just so proud of them, the way they fought. We played the back nine better all week, and they just hung in there and hung in there with every match. I just told them, we didn’t lose. You know, it was a tie and there was so much to build off this week. These things come down to one shot or one putt and it’s just amazing of all the matches that we played, that that’s what it comes down to.”

Ireland’s Leona Maguire had drawn first blood for Europe, defeating rising star Rose Zhang 4&3 to edge the home side in front for the first time all week, only for Megan Khang and Danielle Kang to beat Linn Grant and Charley Hull respectively to take the visitors 10-9 in front.

Anna Nordqvist claimed her first point of the week with victory over Jennifer Kupcho to level the scores again and they remained that way as Georgia Hall had to settle for half a point against Andrea Lee after crucially three-putting the 17th from close range.

Wins for Lilia Vu and Angel Yin gave the United States the upper hand, but Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall – who had sat out the first three sessions and lost her fourball match on Saturday afternoon – birdied the 16th and 17th and was conceded another on 18 to beat Ally Ewing and set up the grandstand finish.

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